A commercial bus driver has been charged with 38 counts of reckless endangerment after blacking out behind the steering wheel while snacking on gummies he says he didn’t know were infused with THC.
Jinhuan Chen appeared Tuesday in Bridgeport Superior Court after being arrested at his home in Boston.
Chen was driving 38 passengers from the Mohegan Sun Casino on March 13 when he stopped the bus on the side of Interstate 95 in Stratford. Police said they found Chen slumped unconscious in the driver's seat, next to an open package of Smokies Edibles Cannabis Infused Fruit Chews.
Toxicology tests showed Chen had a high level of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, in his bloodstream, prosecutors said.
Chen told Judge Ndidi Moses on Tuesday that he had no idea he had been snacking on anything but regular candy.
"I didn’t know it was marijuana," Chen said through a Chinese interpreter, according to Hearst Connecticut Media. "I didn’t know."
Moses ordered Chen held in lieu of $25,000 bond and set his next court date for Aug. 25.
Victor Chen, the manager of Go Go Sun Tour, the bus company, told Hearst that Jinhuan Chen had been driving for the Boston-based company for 10 years and has an exemplary record.
"He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, but he has a sweet tooth and likes candy," Victor Chen said.
"This would never have happened a couple of years ago. But now there’s marijuana everywhere here," he added.